After a recent family trip to the San Juan Islands, I stumbled upon this wonderful Hundred Dollar Idea while riding the ferry.
A brief stop at an Island my brother Aaron pointed out this wonderful site.
Wow! There must be like a hundred bucks in change down there!
The dock had been painted with a target that encouraged people to literally throw money at it. I even saw someone try to make a paper airplane out of a dollar and throw it to this wonderful target.
I figured this would be a great product to make and sell. We could even give them to the workers at busy intersections (generally they carry cardboard signs). I bet we could slap some advertising on there too. I would imagine our roll able waterproof (for fountains) money targets would be a fantastic investment for anyone who is looking to make some money quickly.
After returning to Portland I decided to do a little investigation into this wonderful idea. I learned a valuable lesson about investigation. Some things are best left not found out.
Here is a series of emails that I had to inquire about this money target.
To protect anonymity Iâ€™ve changed some names and titles and edited some things.
Originally I emailed the treasurer of the Island thinking they would be the one who managed the money target.
Subject : Ferry Money
Last weekend I took a trip to the San Juan Islands for a family
gathering. Although we did not have the opportunity to visit Lomez
Island I was very impressed with what I saw while the ferry stopped to
drop people off on your island. I’m sure you are aware of the money
target at the ferry dock.
( a link to an image of the money target then a paragraph of ramblings about MoHDI)
Here is what I would like to know about if you might be able to help me
I’m curious about the history of the target if you could tell me any
details on this I’m very interested.
How long has it been there?
Who made it?
What do you call this? I like the term “Money Target” is there another
name people call it?
Where does the money go?
How much revenue does this target make?
Do you think other islands might adopt this idea?
Anything else you could tell me about this would be very helpful or if
you know of someone else who is an expert on the money target I would
very much like to ask them some of these questions.
This certainly gave us some ideas for a new product that I hope to be
selling on our site soon.
Thank you very much for your help, next time we visit we will try to
spend some time on Lomez.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Millions of Hundred Dollar Ideas
A couple days Laterâ€¦.
Subject: Lomez â€œmoney targetâ€
If you use such an idea as the â€œmoney targetâ€, please donâ€™t attribute it to Lomez Island. I wasnâ€™t aware of the target so I phoned the Lomez ferry dock and they are continually painting out that target. It seems there are a group of kids that periodically paint it back to life and then collect the money themselves!
Clever perhaps, but not at all appreciated by the ferry system. So now you know; hopefully it wonâ€™t be there the next time you visit.
Then I wrote back feeling all bad and stuff
To: Lomez Chamber of Commerce
Subject: Re: Lomez “money target”
I’m sorry to hear that I was a part of the targets demise if it so
happens. Before the decision to get rid of the target is finalized, I
suggest you take a ride on the ferry and watch people reaction to the
target as they are docked at Lomez perhaps there could be a better way
to deal with this. Personally I think that it is more of an asset than
not, the people on deck really enjoyed seeing such a wonderful and
inventive idea in the works.
I certainly think there could be some way to work out an arrangement to
keep the target. Perhaps there is a cause on the Island that money from
the target could be directed at. I would imagine that the target pulls
in a good amount of revenue (I’m still doing the math on this). The
target was also a very pleasurable part of my trip. My 8 year old cousin really
enjoyed trying to get his coin into the target. It is a simple inventive
pleasure that is unique and creates a brief but memorable experience.
Perhaps you can send some muscle down to the docks, wait till the kids
collect the money and take it from them. Personally, I would think that
you might not have gotten the full truth to the story of the target form
the dock. I would imagine that the “Kids” collecting money most likely
work for the Ferry system, I’m certainly no crime detective but I am
quite savvy about such issues.
Removing the target is probably going to upset some people.
I think that the good outweighs the bad when it comes to this target and
I think the Chamber of Commerce should consider keeping the target.
Based on my website traffic and the demographic of my readers I’m
guessing that this article will most likely result in a nice group of
visitors to Lomez Island in the future ( like 1-2 every few years). I would hope that they too could
have the pleasure of seeing this target first hand. I was going to do a
mention to Lomez Island with a link to your site. If you would like I
can post a link to something related to the San Juan Islands instead so
you can distance yourself from this money target.
If you would like any assistance in keeping this wonderful icon of
creativity and commerce, please let me know. I offer my time and the
time of the people who work for me to help you come up with a plan that
will keep this target going.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful
servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has
forgotten the gift.”
Thank you for getting back to me. Please consider keeping this money
Have a wonderful day,
Millions of Hundred Dollar Ideas
I plan to share your letter with the Lomez ferry dock folks. It is
interesting that you were so impressed with the “money target” as I have
never heard it mentioned before by visitors. As locals, I guess we just
drive on the ferry not seeing what tourists see.
There are certainly many charities and non-profit organizations on Lomez who
could use the extra money, but the Washington State Ferry System regulates
whatever goes on at the ferry docks and I doubt a “money target” would be
allowed regardless of the motive.
We shall see??
Then I concluded with this email
This is fantastic news. It sounds like the Washington State Ferry System
has all ready allowed the target to be there time and time again. I
would imagine that there might be some agreement you can reach with them
to regulate it a bit more though. It seems to me if you can have a
wonderful Lomez Island sign at the ferry docks you should also be able
to have the addition of the “Charity Target” as well.
If Lomez Island wants a “Charity Target” they should be able to do so, I
wouldn’t let the Ferry System push you around.
Please keep me updated.
I have not heard from them since.